Where the future is most beautiful
A hotel made of bamboo? Not exclusive, but bamboo plays a major role. bamboosphere visited Europe’s most sustainable hotel and was amazed at the ingenuity that can be achieved when there is a strict tender.
1949 ended the more than three hundred years of colonial history of Dutch India, which today is called Indonesia. The connection between the Netherlands and Indonesia is still present. Java Eiland is an artificial island in the harbor area of Amsterdam, named after one of the four Indonesian main islands. Java Eiland was built as early as the 19th century, initially as a breakwater in a bay of the IJmeer.
Past & Future
Today, the 17-hectare island is above all a modern residential location in the harbor area in the middle of the city. In the summer of 2018, a building was added that uniquely embodies and unites the connection between Asia and Europe, between past and future. The Hotel Jakarta proudly bears the name of the Indonesian capital, which is located on Java, and symbolizes in its entire architecture the historical connection between the two countries – up to the diverse use of bamboo.
This 4-star hotel is located on the quay at the tip of Java Eiland. There arrived immigrants from Indonesia after a long journey until the mid-20th century or left Amsterdam again. It was her first or last view of the city. And so the floor plan of the hotel corresponds to a sharp triangle. The whole building is Asian inspired, has a transparent facade on all sides and no walls. It is open and public.
At the same time it is the most sustainable hotel in Europe with a BREEAM Excellent certification. The city of Amsterdam was looking for a partner at the end of 2013 for the development and realization of a hotel project at the head of Java Eiland. Due to the special location, the criteria were extremely demanding. What was needed was not just sustainable architecture, but a concept that attracts and invites citizens and guests of the city alike. Thus, not far from the center of Amsterdam, a green oasis has been created. The heart of the hotel is a subtropical garden that balances temperatures in summer and winter and invites you to linger.
Architectural firm SeARCH was awarded the contract for the WestCord hotel chain. Around the inner garden, in the „bazaar“, there are bars, restaurants, cafés and wellness centers open to all visitors. Unique in the Netherlands is the thirty-meter-high load-bearing wooden structure. All beams, columns, ceilings and window frames are made of FSC or PEFC certified wood. The wall coverings are made of bamboo.
More than a hundred cubic meters of bamboo material are installed in the entire Hotel Jakarta. It is used as floor, stairs, wall cladding, ceilings, furniture, doors and window frames. It is particularly impressive to stand in the middle of the oasis and look up. Or from the top floor, looking down on the meter-high palm trees, surrounded by bamboo panels. bamboosphere was fortunate enough to get an exclusive tour of Peter, who likes to call himself „Lobbybobby“. Peter has already led many architects and other interested people from around the world through the building and continues to enthusiastically display the many thoughtful details. Thus, the bamboo elements of the seating corners are not bolted, but filigree assembled and glued. More sustainability is not possible. „Is not that beautiful ?!“, Peter asks me again and again. Yes, it is indeed. That’s why I was there. I did not just want to see photos, but to experience live what modern, sustainable bamboo architecture can do today.
Sustainable down to the last Detail
The material has MOSO International B.V. delivered, a total of five large sea container bamboo. In some places, tried-and-tested solutions for high-tech bamboo were possible; elsewhere MOSO worked with the architects to develop tailor-made answers. A special eye-catcher is the sculpture that seems to float above the bar. The strips and struts were artfully cut from bamboo slabs and trace the contours of an old merchant ship.
In order to achieve the demanding BREEAM certification Excellent, the hotel concept has been planned and implemented down to the last detail. There is no air conditioning, but geothermal, solar panels and rainwater cisterns. Even the work clothes of the hotel employees are part of the concept. The processed bamboo materials have a negative CO2 balance and radiate a unique beauty in contrasting harmony with the bare, polished concrete and glass facades. In addition, the bamboo meets particularly high quality requirements in terms of resilience. The floor coverings are for example extremely hard and hardly inflammable.
All two hundred rooms overlook the river IJ. 176 of these have been erected as 30-square-meter luxury pre-fabricated containers installed side by side. Most parts are made of FSC or PEFC certified woods such as silver fir. The four suites in the top of the building have been individually built and furnished with bamboo.
The building has won three architectural prizes: Publiek Gebouw van het Jaar, Architectenweb Award 2018, Architecture Masterprize – Green Architecture and the WAF Award Best Hotel of the Year.
At the Hotel Jakarta you can have fun or meet. Or both. A 245-square-foot, dividable conference room offers enough space for many intensive meetings. Peter draws my attention to the artwork under the ceiling: „The walls are simple so that nobody gets distracted. The outline of Indonesia can be seen here. „Different sized lights symbolize the Indonesian cities on a black background. Jakarta shines brightest.
Sliderphoto: Hotel Jakarta/Sander Baks